Drones Will Transform Cities
Interesting remarks from a modern architect regarding the likely changes in architecture as drones for transportation are created (see Human-Carrying Drone Taxi 184 Approved For Test Flights).
Drones will transform the way buildings are designed, the way they look and the way they are used, according to architect Mark Dytham.
Dytham, co-founder of Tokyo-based studio Klein Dytham Architecture, said that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) would soon replace road transport for deliveries, meaning buildings would start "sprouting branches" for them to land on.
Further ahead, people-carrying drones would lead to a complete rethink of the way buildings work, since occupants and visitors would no longer need to enter at ground level and could instead fly directly to any floor.
Take a look at Human-Carrying Drone Taxi 184 Approved For Test Flights if you think that drone taxis are that far away!
I can recall several novels that showed how science fiction writers thought about this. In Childhood's End, the 1953 classic by Arthur C. Clarke, aliens with wings show a human guest around their city. Without roads, of course, because you wouldn't need them if you would fly point-to-point:
...he caught momentary glimpses of the city, and
realized how difficult-and dangerous-it would be for him to travel around in it.
Streets were practically non-existent, and there seemed to be no surface
transport. This was the home of creatures who could fly, and who had no fear of
gravity. It was nothing to come without warning upon a vertiginous drop of
several hundred metres, or to find that the only entrance into a room was an
opening high up in the wall. In a hundred ways, Jan began to realize that the
psychology of a race with wings must be fundamentally different from that of
In Barbara Hambly's 1980's Darwath trilogy, an alien city is seen from a high mountain. There are no roads, because the aliens floated on the air:
Viewed from above and behind, the land wore a different aspect, the angle of the sunlight westering on the mountains changing the perspective of that darkness-haunted place. From here the symmetry was obvious, the nuclei of the long-overgrown woods lying in some kind of pattern whose geometry was just beyond the range of human comprehension, the stream beds following courses that held the echoes of perverted regularity. The clinging mats of the ubiquitous vines took on a curious appearance from this angle, the shifts in their color and thickness disquietingly suggestive. Almost directly below them the great rectangle of pavement lay, and its position relative to the anomalous mounds of black stone that thrust through the foliage became suddenly, shockingly, clear to a woman trained in the rudiments of archaeology.
Ingold frowned, staring down at the distorted counterpane beneath them. "It's almost-almost as if there were a city here at one time. But there never was, not in human history." His eye and finger traced the mathematical obscenity of a curved shadow in the weeds, the queerly obtuse angles faintly visible in the half-hinted relationships between stream and stone. "What causes that? It's as if the vines grow thinner in places... "
"Buried foundations," Gil softly replied. "From the looks of it, foundations so deeply buried that they leave barely a trace. The trees are more stunted on that line because their roots cannot go so deep. Look, see the line of that stream? And yet-" She paused, confused. "It looks so planned, so regular, but it's not like any city I've ever seen. There's a layout-you can see that in the angle of the sunlight-but the layout's all wrong."
"Of course," the wizard said mildly. "There are no streets."
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